Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
Yes, I love to read about quirky characters, but, push a quirk to the extreme, and you have pathology. Case in point, psychopath Ted Bundy. Ann Rule's nonfiction spellbinder The Stranger Beside Me is a true crime classic. The author actually knew Bundy--she worked with him on a suicide hotline of all things--during the killings in the early 1970s. Rule's style is thoughtful and rational as she coolly details Bundy's path of violence and tries to make sense of it. I've read many of the author's subsequent books, but this one remains my favorite, partly because I remember the fear we felt as children after Bundy's rampages in Tallahassee and Lake City. The chilling theme of the book is perfectly expressed in the title: can you ever really know another person? Ann Rule knew Bundy, she even liked him, and he was a monster.